It’s happening….The longtime head brewer at Fitger’s Brewhouse is realizing a dream, a vision he’s had for a while will come to fruition in the form of a new brewery located in Canal Park. Hoops Brewing is aiming for a March/April 2017 opening date for their 9,000 square foot brewery and beer hall. The model? Something similar to what Dangerous Man did in Northeast back in 2013. “I have all this admiration for Dangerous Man. I give a lot of credit to Rob and Sarah over there” he says. Crowlers were chosen as the preferred package that will go out in limited distribution because Dave doesn’t like growlers.
Some breweries choose to have a wide distribution such as Surly, Bauhaus, Indeed and Bent Paddle. Hoops respects that model but points out that he wants to do things his way. “It’s the best model for me. I don’t need to sell my beer in a five state area. I just want to brew beer the way I’ve done it for 20 years” he said. Much of that time was spent running Fitger’s Brewhouse where he churned out award winning beers. Everything from lagers to wheatwines, using a wide variety of hops and malts.
He pegged Melissa Rainville as his head brewer, someone he was very familiar with working at the Duluth brewpub. “She has a very similar philosophy to me, and I’m fortunate to have her” according to Hoops. He explains that she’ll have a lot of say with the types of beers they will create which will include everything from lagers to barrel-aged beers. He hopes to attract everyone, from the local community to tourists, and especially the hockey community—a community he proudly belongs to.
There won’t be a kitchen on-site, but he plans to have menus available from local establishments and he even expects to have a runner system where they will make sure that food ordered to the beer hall is delivered to his customers.
Hoops learned about the space (formerly Timber Lodge Steak House) being available last February and he insists that BevCraft (a consulting firm he’s a part of) was a big reason he secured the space. “They were huge in every aspect of this project” he proclaims. The space itself will seat around 250 people and with areas where one can watch a hockey game on the big screen, or areas with no televisions where people can socialize.
If one thing is certain, he’s proud to be local and he wants the place to be a big part of the community of Duluth. “This is my dream, and I’m going all in.”
That three-hour drive is looking better than ever.